Erdogan vowed to work to ease Gaza siege: Haniyeh

Photo: Erdogan vowed to work to ease Gaza siege: Haniyeh / Arab World

Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said Wednesday that his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had vowed to "keep his promise" to work on easing Israel's eight-year-long siege of the Gaza Strip Anadolu Agency reported.

The assertion came one day after Haniyah phoned Erdogan to congratulate him on his Justice and Development (AK) Party's strong showing in recently-concluded Turkish local elections.

"[The AK Party's] victory in local elections will bolster the Palestinian nation and cause," Haniyeh said at a graduation ceremony for new security officers and soldiers.

Haniyeh also renewed his criticism of ongoing U.S.-sponsored peace talks between Palestinian and Israeli negotiators.

The Gaza premier said he wasn't surprised that peace talks - which resumed last July after a three-year hiatus - were foundering due to Israel's failure to abide by an earlier promise to release scores of Palestinian prisoners.

"Negotiations with Israel have always been futile," Haniyeh said. "We weren't surprised by the turbulent end of the talks, which is the inevitable result of any initiative launched in the absence of national consensus."

"The negotiations have only allowed the enemy to build more [Jewish-only] settlements, tighten the siege of Gaza, and Judaize Al-Quds [occupied East Jerusalem]," he asserted.

The Gaza Strip continues to groan under an Israeli blockade first imposed in 2006, which has deprived the Palestinian enclave's almost two million inhabitants of the most basic needs.

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